Without empathy, the relationship would hardly survive and even if it does it won’t be an ideal relationship. Empathy requires compassion and if there is no compassion, you can’t develop a bond.
It can strengthen a relationship, decrease aggression, and improve physical and mental health. Research tells that happy people are usually less aware of negative feelings in others, but doesn’t matter happy or not, we should practice empathy to create happiness.
The key to developing empathy is to be a good listener. You can’t connect to a person if you don’t understand what they are feeling, and the only way to understand that is to listen to them carefully. It’s not always easy to be a good listener. If your friend calls you and talks about how stressful the work is or how hard life has been after the recent breakup, you are more likely to listen carefully and understand the feeling, because of the presence of strong emotions. But, if there are distractions or the conversation is not too emotional, you might not listen with much attention.
Our own emotions can also prevent us from understanding other people’s feelings. If we are focusing on our feelings and how we can communicate with them, we will not give much attention to what the other person is trying to communicate. We should make an effort to listen with full attention, even if we have feelings that we want to communicate.
Once you know how the other person is feeling, you would be basically in their shoes. You should know that empathy is not about feeling what you would feel in any situation; rather it’s about adopting other people’s feelings.
If you want to improve your empathy, there are several simple strategies that you can follow. You should talk to other people and understand their feelings, even if you have to begin conversations every time. Notice the body language that includes tone of voice and shifts in energy. Be a good listener. Put aside your feelings for a moment and pay full attention, even if there are distractions.